Copywriting continues to evolve thanks to the web and the emergence of new content consumption platforms. Writers have gone from explaining why a product is a great buy to creating an entire user experience, working alongside web designers and developers.
User experience (UX) is the process of designing a website that both motivates specific ways of thinking and creates desired consumer behavior. Advances in design give us plenty of options to create a specific UX. A visitor to your website is influenced by the design of the website, the writing style, and the format. In essence, you are taking website visitors on a brief guided tour of your product while telling them how much they will love it. Make sure you don’t underestimate the power of carefully crafted content.
Writing great copy that really heightens the user experience takes more than throwing some text boxes onto a screen.
Here are a few dozen essential tips that should help you craft great content:
- Research to Find “Meaty” Content
To get people to your site, you need substance instead of fluff. The better the content, the longer visitors will stay on your site. Do an internet search to find out the following things:
- See what others on the web are saying about the topic so you can join the conversation within your industry and with your target audience.
- Note how other websites sell their products or services, including imagery, written content, overall design and so on.
- Find statistics and facts from reputable sources to support your content. They will help you strike a more serious note and provide your visitors with useful data and insights.
- Get high-quality links to include in your content, use social media and other websites. This helps your SEO, but you have to do it properly and employ best practices; otherwise it may backfire.
You need to know your competition. You need to know what successful businesses do to sell their products. What marketing strategies are used in your niche? What type of user experience are other companies creating on their sites? You will have to set aside enough time to research all these points and more.
Find your competitors’ websites through targeted keyword searches. Check several possible keywords because competitors are those who sell a product that competes with yours. Create a superior UX to gain more market share. Having superior content is just one piece of the puzzle.
Numbers also help convert customers. Find statistics and important facts by conducting your own research, or looking for information from well-respected media outlets, healthcare organizations, government organizations, reputable schools, researchers, or industry leaders. Quality sites usually have strong content, backed by first class sources.
Note: When you use statistics, facts or other content from other websites, include all relevant links to give credit to the original authors. Sometimes it is also possible to directly contact reputable authors and potentially collaborate on future content projects in a mutually beneficial arrangement.
- Identify Your Reader
When you write, you need to address a specific audience. Unfortunately, the prospective audience is often so large that you have to cater to any potential buyer. Instead of writing to a faceless mass, select one person to write to.
Create a representative reader. Consider his or her interests, education level, and background understanding of your product or service, or lack thereof. Your reader may be a caucasian female who is a senior manager for a restaurant chain. She might know supply chains and spreadsheets, but not what your software can do for her business.
Make sure the persona you invent fits your target user as closely as possible. Answer his or her questions. Anticipate what the reader would like to know, and then try to anticipate their next step.
- Focus on The Benefit of Your Product
Visitors to your website need a good reason to buy your product instead of a product description. It’s quite simple and boils down to this: People want something that benefits them.
A visitor to your running shoe website will buy a product that offers them “comfort” and “durability.” A lengthy description of the origin of your running business, on the other hand, is not likely to convert visitors to customers.
Explain the benefits of your product or services as you describe the features. When possible, try to differentiate your product or service from the competition.
For example, instead of writing:
“Our shoes are crafted using top grade materials and they are available in a range of colors that fit the latest trends.”
Try to focus on the benefit by writing something like this:
“Rock your runs in a shoe that is built for your foot.”
But wait, what about the details? If you can captivate your audience, and if they are interested in a particular shoe model thanks thanks to its design or competitive pricing, they will click the product link to get a detailed description. There is no need to include too many details in the initial description.
- Structure the Content to Address Immediate Needs
When you design your website, you want to have it function in a way that is intuitive for your user. The content should also meet your user’s needs.
What are the most important selling features of your product? Put that front and center on your website. What questions will your customer have? Answer those in the order that they are likely to come to your reader’s mind. Don’t guess, do your homework and research your target audience.
The writing style should be one that makes sense to your representative reader. You are actually having a conversation with your reader through the website.
A great user experience occurs when the visitor feels comfortable navigating through your site and excited about your call to action. You can create this excitement when you:
- Use active verbs in your headers and subheads (such as “create,” “monitor,” “connect”).
- Write short, scannable paragraphs.
- Complete your copy with powerful graphics and images.
A typical visitor to your site will spend less than a minute scanning it. Make sure you grab their attention quickly.
- Make it Easy to Access
A click from a search engine into your site is like opening a door. As your visitor scrolls down the page and jumps to different pages on your site, he or she is opening doors. Greet them at each door with a friendly smile and words that say something positive and encourage them to take action, such as “Welcome” and “Buy our product.”
Long paragraphs and complicated explanation are difficult to access quickly. Instead, as I mentioned earlier, you are taking your visitor on a quick guided tour rather than a long walk. If you are trying to impress a friend or client visiting your home or place of business for the first time, would you bore them to death with unnecessary details and small talk? Of course not.
Inform and persuade with short, catchy phrases.
“Get a complete report customized to your needs!”
Is more energetic than:
“Our solution makes it possible to produce spreadsheets listing all relevant data collected in our Customer Relationship Management software.”
Also, make clickable elements easy to find and place them towards the top of the page. Clearly visible elements are a proven way to achieve conversion.
- Avoid Writing Solely for SEO
Writers can easily become overly focused on SEO factors. You lose the focus of engaging your audience when you are limited to using prescribed keywords, images and click through factors. Meet your reader’s needs. Guide your reader through your site to the information that will bring the best conversion. Write for humans rather than Google robots.
High-quality copy with strong verbs, energetic phrases, and direct word choice is different from what many websites designate as strong SEO content. Write for your reader rather than your ranking. SEO ranking does factor in the quality of writing and reader engagement. However, do not sacrifice the quality of your copy just to get a marginally better SEO score. It’s a bad tradeoff.
- Test Your Copy
Do not rely on your great writing ideas alone. Remember, you are trying to create motivation, to make people like your product and then buy it. Personas help, but you cannot read your actual visitor’s mind.
A/B testing can help you determine which version of your website gets better traffic and/or conversion. Another invaluable way of ensuring you have strong copy is to conduct in-person testing to get feedback on your content. Watch and listen to people as they review your site, take notes, then proceed to make the necessary adjustments based on collected data.
Good copywriting does not waste away in the dark corners of the Internet. It usually finds a way to shine through.